Los Angeles Fashion Week Explores Cultural Diversity
At the heart of entertainment, the Los Angeles Fashion Week stepped on its bright black carpet at the NeueHouse in Hollywood. Backstage, the Saturday night’s runway shaped into a Fall/Winter 2018 forecasting canvas with collections by designers such as Delise’Ana, Shani James and Nicholas Mayfield. Wine was served for guests to soften the mood before finding a seat and basking in the cutting edge, the designs were revealed in the company of the ever-present camera lenses. It was nearing the finale of a week’s worth of events celebrating the fashion world and some of its emerging, luminous talents.
The first designer featured on the runway was Delise’Ana, whose focus is primarily on a combination of dark leathers and clear plastics that conjure a futuristic look. It melds into classic skirt and dress patterns which are ultimately highly elegant. “I always have a focus when I’m doing my clothing,” said Delise’Ana after the show. “It’s either music or film or television. This time I was more definitely drawn toward costume designing for film.” She is also more than certain about which films bring out the muse and what she would like the audience to take from the designs. “I would be honored to work with the cast of Black Panther. I love that film. I’m so inspired by it.” The designer added. “I want that wow factor. People that attend shows usually attend a lot of shows. I want to make the statement pieces that they remember tomorrow or next week.”
Following Delise’Ana came one of the evening’s ambitious and astounding shows. Shani James presented her latest collection, Knowstylegia, which celebrates vintage trends from the past energized by modern fashion. A slim, one-piece bridal dress and veil on an Asian model drew applause, the added touch of a pearl necklace dangling in the model’s hands as she danced to a charged beat gave the piece greater effect. The show stealer was a riff on the Bride of Frankenstein, here in the form of a one-piece black dress on an African American model with iconic towering hairdo and white stripes on each side. A red jacket and skirt combo adorned with white polka dots proved alluring in its classic tone. “This was inspired by my fiancé CeeLo Green,” revealed James. CeeLo himself was among the evening’s guests. “We’ve been together for almost seven years and literally from day one we’ve been collecting vintage together. I came into a space of being an appreciator, then a collector and now I’m composing my own designs.” On her homage to the film Bride of Frankenstein, James added, “I have to shock people. Hair is important. Fashion is a total package between hair, make-up and attitude. It’s all there.”
Nicholas Mayfield created a special message with Better is Better. A painter as well as a designer, Mayfield combines an almost urban graffiti aesthetic with Afro-American sensibilities. Key to this are his jackets, which are slim-cut leather designs ablaze with piercing color combinations of reds, yellows, whites and blues. Some of the designs feature quirky, fun social messages. One jacket has a Dodo bird that sits above the word ‘Humanity.’ “My whole inspiration for this collection was that I want to make it vibrant, believe or not, for my daughter. I just want the colors and everything to be inviting. Most of my art has a message, but I think it’s important that the colors be strong,” said Mayfield. “When you think about the Dodo Bird or the Tasmanian Devil, the list goes on. The Tasmanian Devil, these are species that are either under threat of genocide or went extinct. So we need to think about, were they really ‘dodos’ or did they exist the way we exist now. We come in and then we go out.”
As the LAFW entered its closing weekend, LAFW successfully set a festive mood fitting of its cultural diversity theme. Sunday promised even more creative energy and elegant characters. Denizens in fashionable wear dressed in threads both classic and avant-garde, crowded the back area behind the main hall. Some of the designers mingled with guests, enlightened and perhaps even relieved after showcasing under the exciting pressures of a fashion week. As day two slowly dropped its ‘curtains,’ James posed beautifully blending in with the models of her collection. The vintage Bride of Frankenstein moved to the speakers of the pounding pop beat.